A&E mobile phone app is a first for Hull and East Yorkshire NHS
HEALTH officials are planning to create a mobile phone app for patients.
Hull And East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the plans are believed to be the first of their kind.
The app will tell patients the waiting time in the city's accident and emergency (A&E) department and signpost people to other places, such as minor injuries units.
It will also include maps of the hospital sites, leaflets on various diseases or conditions, and clinic times.
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Trust chief executive Phil Morley said the app, which could be launched at the end of March, will cost about £16,000 and be paid for using charitable funds.
It will be free to download and patients will also be able to leave feedback about their hospital experience.
Mr Morley said: "It's a great way to try to communicate and patients will be able to use the app to leave comments and feedback.
"It's a way of reaching out to people.
"Whether you have been an inpatient or an outpatient, rate the hospital and tell us what you want us to improve."
Mr Morley said the app is still in the planning stages but it is hoped the A&E waiting time information may encourage patients with minor injuries to use the under-pressure department more wisely.
He said: "If you're thinking 'shall I go to A&E?' and it's three-and-a-half hours' wait, people might go to their GP."
The trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, is under pressure to make £99m in efficiency savings by 2018.
Patient and NHS campaigner Dermot Rathbone, 44, is secretary of the Save Our NHS Hull And East Yorkshire group, which has launched a petition to save services at the hospitals.
He suffers from a degenerative brain condition called cerebellar ataxia and needs ongoing treatment.
Mr Rathbone, of Kirk Ella, said although the app will be paid for using charitable funds, he does not believe it is the right move and may not target the right people.
He said: "More elderly and vulnerable people who may need services might not have the skill set to be able to use it. The sort of people who would use it can go on the internet anyway.
"It's not sending the right message out at a time of cuts."
Ray Gray, regional officer for Unison, said: "What's the point? Haven't they got better things to do with £16,000?
"They used to tell you to turn mobile phones off in hospital because it affects the equipment."